Spain will replace the USA as the world's second most popular tourist destination. The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said 7 per cent more international tourists visited Spain in 2017. Spain's prime minister backed up the figures. He said the country had more than 82 million international visitors last year. This continues a trend as the figure for 2017 broke Spain's tourist arrival records for the fifth year in a row. This is despite the terror attack on Barcelona in August, and independence demonstrations in Spain's Catalonia region.
There was an 8 per cent increase in tourism to Europe in 2017. The UNWTO said: "Europe recorded extraordinary results for such a large and rather mature region." Africa is increasingly becoming an attractive destination. Tourism there went up by 8 per cent. Asia and the Pacific saw growth of 6 per cent, the Middle East recorded 5 per cent, and tourism to the Americas grew by 3 per cent. The UNWTO added: "International travel [is] consolidating the tourism sector as a key driver in economic development." France kept its position as the world's top tourist destination.